We all get frustrated and that’s often a good thing.
Now I’m not talking here about the depressive kind of frustration that can gnaw away at us, day after day. I’m talking about the kind of frustration that pushes us into action. There can be a fine line between the two, and often that difference is found within our attitude towards them, but sometimes the difference is found in the situation itself.
There are things that frustrate me about which I can do absolutely nothing, but that is the exception. In most situations I have some power to do something. Often the cost of change is higher that I am willing to pay, but sometimes, just sometimes, frustration drives me to make a change.
As I look at the innovations that I have been involved in I can’t think of a single one that has come out of a grand idea. By a “grand idea” I am talking about those situations where someone, unprovoked, has a good idea, as if from nowhere, that makes a difference. I am sure that this kind of “grand idea” does happen, but I can’t think of a situation in my experience. I can, however, think of lots of situations where an innovation has happened because someone got well and truly fed-up something and decided to do something about it.
Sometimes we need the pain of frustration to spur us into a change. Without the frustration there wouldn’t have been the innovation.
The danger for many businesses is that they suppress frustration and miss out on the innovation. I would be interested to know how many employees regard themselves as disengaged simply because they could not find an answer to their frustration, there’s certainly lots written about it. Perhaps your frustration makes you a high “flight potential”.
There are a new generation of employees entering the workplace for whom frustration manifests itself very differently to my own generation. These individuals are going to cause all sorts of problems for traditional organisations that are not willing to embrace change.
One of the reasons I like the job that I am currently doing is that it gives me huge potential to change things, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated, it just means that I have an outlet for it. That’s what makes it so interesting.
As for the situations where I have absolutely no power to change the frustration – then I need to change my attitude towards the situation.